Bonaire December 2016

It was so good to finally get back to one of our favorite dive destinations – Bonaire!  It has been a couple years since we visited and although not much changes in Bonaire a lot has.  We stayed this time at Den Laman (our 2nd time) and bought our dive packages through Bonaire Dive and Adventure. 

Den Laman was absolutely fabulous.  I almost hate saying how great they are for fear of giving away one of our secrets.  They treated us absolutely the best and having the best condo on ground level overlooking Bari Reef is simply paradise.  We had a nice patio area that was fitted with metal “garage” doors that we could close at night to ensure security of our things on the patio.  Greeting every morning on the patio and overlooking the blue water cannot be beat.  The room was very nice with a modern clean feel to it.  The staff absolutely the best and made every attempt to help out when needed.  In fact, at the end of our stay they allowed us to store 12 bags in their office while we shopped our final day waiting for our afternoon flight back to reality.  When we picked up our bags, the nice young lady who worked in the office even helped to carry our bags out.

Bonaire Dive and Adventure…what can we say.  They provided us with tanks and weights.  I cannot honestly say I really got a connection with them.  It felt like they were going through the motions and really made no attempt to get to know us.  When we asked a question we often got a sarcastic response that I think was meant to be funny but it really got old in a hurry.  Maybe we just don’t get that culture.  We enjoyed using the pier, but having to deal with all the locks on gates got old in a hurry.  I get you don’t want others to use the pier but locking everything up really makes it inconvenient for your customers. Also, put some money back into the pier…it’s falling apart.  The benches are rotting away and the floor is needing repair.  The answer to missing boards and damaged concrete is to put a piece of plywood down.  Why not fix it right?

With all that said, Bonaire Dive and Adventure has closed up shortly after our trip.  Dive Friends now operates the Dive Shop at Bari Reef.  We are anxious to get back down in 2017.  We dove with Dive Friends on previous trips and really enjoyed their hospitality.

I also have to say I was a little disappointed at many of the reefs – in particular Bari Reef.  They are being beaten up and coral broke and damaged.  The fact that many divers dive these reefs daily is certainly taking a toll.  I fear that soon the reefs are going to be in such bad shape that they are not considered one of the best dive destinations in the world – there are simply too many divers damaging the reefs.  What are they going to do?  I don’t know, they need the dive revenue.

What has changed?  The food is much better not that it was very bad, but you can tell they are getting better.  Rencon.  They are really trying to turn Rencon into a tourist attraction and you can tell they have cleaned it up and trying to build it up.  It’s not there yet, but don’t forget to stop at the Cadushy Distillery for some free samples.  It will be interesting to see how Rencon develops over the upcoming years.  It appears they are wanting to grow, yet keep it our small dive paradise.  One new attraction we visited this trip was the new outdoor movie theater located down the road from the Den Laman.  Great experience viewing a current movie on the outdoor screen in the island breezes.

We love Bonaire and cannot say enough about it.  We love the small island feel and the easy diving.  It is not the spring break tourist attraction that many are looking for and that is how we like it.


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